Chucking the workaday world for tropical beaches is a paradise most of us only dream about.
Norman Paperman tries it—and his inventor, novelist Herman Wouk, tells the tale.
Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
Doubleday, 1965. 395 pages. 1965 bestseller #10. My grade: B+.
Norm is bored with his work as Broadway publicity agent when a mild heart attack signals he needs a change of pace.
With encouragement from millionaire Lester Atlas, a hard-drinking slob he can’t stand, Norm buys the Gull Reef Club on the island of Amerigo, which Lester assures him will be a gold mine.
Lester gets the gold and Norm gets to do the heavy digging.
Norm knows nothing of the hospitality business.
He’s unprepared for the loonies and eccentrics on whom he must rely to make the hotel run.
In addition, he finds certain aspects of life in the West Indies—such as hurricanes, earthquakes, lack of drinking water—too far off Broadway for his liking.
Norm finally learns to put his managerial skills to work in the strange surroundings. He’s on the verge of a success of the hotel when a series of tragic accidents produce a shocking ending that upon closer examination appears entirely reasonable.
Wouk makes the boisterous story laugh-out-loud funny, but the guffaws cover some serious growing-up for the middle-aged non-hero.
©2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni